WATERVILLE — For the 124 members of the 2018 graduating class at Waterville Senior High School, Thursday night was all about change, remembrance and the life lessons they will take with them as they take the next step in their lives.

In his greeting to the students, high school Principal Brian Laramee said the events of the past week, final assemblies, final senior home room, final classes, words and hugs from friends and family, evoked mixed emotions for him, too, because it is 25 years since his own graduation in 1993.

He implored students to stick to the core values they have learned during their time at the school — respect, responsibility, perseverance, openness, curiosity, kindness, engagement and integrity.

“Stay engaged and stay connected to and give back to your community,” Laramee told graduating seniors.

Students in the school’s 140th commencement marched to strains of “Pomp and Circumstance,” played by the Waterville Senior High School band under the direction of Sue Barre. They marched through arches of fresh flowers held by underclass students.

There were hoots and hollers from the assembled audience of family and friends, hugs and high-fives.

Following Laramee on the stage, graduating senior and class president Clio Bazakas introduced commencement speaker Ann Bouchard, the school’s longtime nurse, role model and mentor, who also stressed change, telling students to tap the energy and the lessons learned over their high school years.

“Thank you for the opportunity to speak with you on this important night,” Bouchard told the assembly. “It has given me reason to pause, consider my life and my work at Waterville Senior High School and what values and principles have guided me.

“I have also thought what lessons you have taught me along the way to this, your graduation night.”

Bouchard said she would remember their journey together. There have been highs and lows, victories and defeats — challenges all along the way. She asked if many, some or all had experienced the same feelings, the same anxiety, the same loneliness and the same love.

She said graduation is a “victory for each of you over what life has dealt you.”

“Somehow you got here and I applaud you,” she said. “Remember, setting goals — what worked — and make it a pattern of your behavior. You have learned how to live life. Make decisions deliberately. Go ahead, take a risk, but make it a smart risk.”

Bouchard told the graduating seniors to remember their mentors and to say thank you and become that person for someone else.

She quoted Winnie the Pooh, who famously said: “How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”

Following Bouchard’s address, Clio Bazakas returned to the stage to give her a special parting gift.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

[email protected]


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